The judicial process requires parties and their lawyers to be truthful and honest. Unfortunately, big corporations do not always play by the rules. They often attempt to hide evidence in order to shield themselves from responsibility or fault, or from paying legitimate compensation to victims.
This kind dishonesty is why Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has been ordered to pay $2.7 million in sanctions by a trial judge. A panel of federal appellate court judges recently upheld the sanction, which was ordered in a long-running lawsuit related to an allegedly faulty tire manufactured by Goodyear.
The court of appeals found that the trial judge acted lawfully in imposing the sanction and finding that Goodrich and two of its attorneys engaged in a “years-long course of misconduct” against the plaintiffs in a claim that was filed in 2005 and settled in 2010.
The plaintiffs in the underlying case were injured when their motor home overturned on the highway after one of its tires failed. The motor home was equipped with Goodyear G159 tires; the lawsuit alleged that those tires have a defect that causes them to fail after prolonged exposure to heat.
As part of the discovery phase of the suit, the plaintiffs’ attorney requested that Goodyear provide all the testing data on the G159. But Goodyear failed to do so. The company either failed to search for the documents, withheld them from discovery, or both, Tire Review reports. Especially key was evidence from heat and speed tests on the tires.
After learning that the evidence was not made available prior to settlement, the plaintiffs filed for sanctions in 2011. The court agreed, and now Goodyear’s appeal has failed. The company is “considering its options” for another possible appeal, according to a spokesman.